How Power Map for Excel helps Opower visualize and present energy-saving messages

Opower logoOpower’s mission is to motivate everyone on earth to save energy. Ari Schorr worked with Opower’s Josh Lich to create a Power Map Preview for Excel video “tour” that Opower could use to launch their new Behavioral Demand Response solution.

Ari is a Product Marketing Manager on the Office Technical Product Marketing team, and he has worked closely with the Power Map engineering team as they launched public preview and will continue to do so as they work towards general availability release.

Ever wonder how you as a homeowner or renter can reduce your utility bills despite rising energy costs? How can utility companies capitalize on this customer motivation while smoothing demand away from peak usage times?

Opower confronts both of these questions with their exciting new Behavioral Demand Response (BDR) solution, launched today, and some help from Microsoft’s newest visualization technology: Power Map for Excel.

Companies like Opower, who have tons of customer and campaign data based on location, need a way to make sense of it and gain insights. That’s where Power Map (formerly known as Project codename “GeoFlow”) comes in.  Power Map is a 3D data visualization tool for Excel that provides an immersive experience for making discoveries in data that might never be seen using traditional 2D tables and charts.  Power Map lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create cinematic tours to share with others.

Opower, a global leader in customer engagement solutions for the utility industry, today introduced a new customer engagement product to incentivize energy utility customers to save energy at peak times, such as hot days when air conditioner use is high. Thus, this is a win-win for both utility companies who want to reduce costs and customers who want to save on their energy bills.

Josh Lich, Solutions Marketer at Opower, spoke to the value of Power Map around their new product launch:

“The impact and scale of big data projects can be difficult to convey using traditional presentation materials. We used Power Map, as part of the launch of our new Behavioral Demand Response solution, to visualize the capability of our system to deliver millions of personalized messages in short time frames and the energy savings impact that these messages have. This visualization has been an extremely useful tool to show partners and clients the power of our platform, and how the data we collect can be used to optimize our communications over time for maximum energy savings impact.”

Power Map has been used in the past to show customer energy usage for local utilities companies, like those in the Dallas area, and this case of Opower is yet another innovative example of a company leveraging the Power Map capabilities of geospatial and time-based visualization to gain and share insights about a variety of data types, from energy usage to communications to scale across a geographical area.

Heat map visualizations in Power Map show how real-time communications drive energy savings at peak usage times. 

Their new solution, behavioral demand response (BDR), will enable utilities to engage all residential customers in cost-effective demand response programs.  For the first time, utilities can now put into action a demand response capability that scales across their entire residential service territory. This maximizes peak reduction results by delivering dynamic, personalized content to customers in a timely fashion.

For customers, Opower deploys over 100 unique combinations of content and channels that will be automatically delivered to them based on past behavior. All communications will be delivered to customers in near real-time in order to maximize awareness and motivation. These real-time communications can be visualized and presented in Power Map.

Different colored 3D column visualizations in Power Map represent post-peak event communications personalized by customer segment.

There is lot of “Power” talk here so go grab some for yourself! We encourage you to check out both Opower for your energy management needs and Power Map Preview for your data visualization needs.

To learn more about and try out all of the new Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities to help you analyze and visualize your data to make informed decisions, register for the Power BI Preview for Office 365 that is currently being rolled out to customers.

–Ari Schorr